UN Team Unveils Asteroid Defense Plan
On the same day massive rock buzzes the Earth
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Feb 15, 2013 8:39 AM CST
This image provided by NASA/JPL-Caltech shows a simulation of asteroid 2012 DA14 approaching from the south as it passes through the Earth-moon system on Feb. 15, 2013.   (AP Photo/NASA/JPL-Caltech)

(Newser) – An asteroid about half the size of a football field will whiz past Earth today, closer than any object of its size ever has before (OK, almost any object), and a much smaller meteor actually hit Russia this morning, injuring hundreds. But fear not, people of Earth: Soon, we may have the power to fight off rocks from outer space. The UN Office for Outer Space Affairs will today present a plan to guard against and react to threats from the cosmos, Bloomberg reports.

The plan, which has been in the works for 12 years, includes a global asteroid warning system, and a team tasked with overseeing space missions to either destroy menacing asteroids or deflect them with a "gravity tractor." NASA already tracks near-earth asteroids, but only has tabs on the 1,310 biggest—which might represent less than 10% of the threats out there. And while it could be decades before one becomes a problem, "we could find one that would give us three months," the head of the UN group says. The General Assembly will likely consider the plan during its October meeting.

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Showing 3 of 53 comments
vlad
Feb 18, 2013 6:34 PM CST
look up gravity tractor , the idea is laughable at best !
kawahchan
Feb 17, 2013 11:49 AM CST
(R) 2014 & 2016 Gov. RICK PERRY Report: Hire a SuperMan who can carry the Asteroid, throw it like a football out of our Earth's orbit district. No! Our public universities nationwide should begin to teach the undergraduate couses how to calculate the "Orbit Calculation I & II and error bounding" after Calculus I & II and Differential Equations. Each month, like Arizona, Texas, Alaska, the universities like Texas A&M University system's ROTC, UT-Austin, University of Arizona, ... should expand the responsibility to locate the endangered Asteroid which will meet our Earth's orbit, the "error bounding" could save our Earth without hitting us once the Earth still have time to knock it out of our orbit. Yes, we will consider to use nuclear bombs to deliver to reach that endangered Asteroid in advanced year(s).
People_Suck
Feb 15, 2013 5:47 PM CST
I guess John Deere just got a new contract.